This article was posted March 3, 2009 at fortheloveoftruth. Good information and insight. Thanks to Sheepwrecked at fortheloveoftruth for sharing =o). This article will also be made available on the Articles Page.
Guest article – posted with permission from author.
Is Hebrew a special Holy language (leshon ha Kodesh) that is special and different than all of the other languages? Some Hebrew roots teachers have stated that Hebrew is a language so Holy, that it is impossible to even curse in it.
Some have also stated that because of its Holiness, it was the language used to create the world, and most assuredly will be the language of Heaven.
Here is one of the Hebrew roots teachers, who state that Hebrew was the language of creation.
Hebrew: Restoring the Pure Language
Brad takes a fascinating journey into the history of Hebrew, the pure language of Adonai (Tz’fanyah 3:9), the language that created all things. Brad proves through the dynamics of the Hebrew language that this heavenly tongue is the Mother Tongue and is being restored in these last days. This series covers the use of gematria, equidistant letter sequencing, and many other fascinating aspects of Hebrew to show that this language is revived today to be the foundation of bringing Adonai’s people back together to serve Him in one consent. Through the restoration of Hebrew, many long-held, erroneous, religious doctrines are being exposed. The true followers of Y’shua are being revealed and unity is being re-established in the latter days. Brad concludes this series with a lesson on how to research and discover the wonderful truths of Adonai contained in the Hebrew text.
Let’s first take a look at where all the languages originated from, so that we can better understand the origins of the Hebrew language:
6 And The LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and the lip one to all of them, and this they are beginning to do, and now all which they have purposed to do will not be restrained from them.
7 Come, let Us go down and confuse their language so that they cannot understand one another’s speech.
8 And the LORD scattered them from there, over the face of all the earth. And they stopped building the city.
9 On account of this its name is called Babel, because the LORD confused the language of all the earth there. And the LORD scattered them abroad from there on the face of all the earth.
Hebrew is a language that evolved historically from proto Canaanite/ancient Hebrew, into paleo, middle, and late Hebrew, which finally ended up becoming the Biblical Hebrew (with vowels) that we have today in the Masoretic text. From there modern words were added, which again evolved into the modern Hebrew that is spoken in Israel today.
Because of the history of Hebrew, clearly the Original Ten Declarations were not written in what we consider Hebrew, because of the time frame that they were written. The Ten Declarations were written before the Torah, which is dated approximately 1500-1400 BCE. The language of that time was proto Canaanite which has been established through archaeological finds. Proto Canaanite did evolve into what we know as Hebrew, but other languages also evolved from it as well.
If the Ten Declarations had been written in Hebrew as we know it, Moses and the children of Israel would have not been able to understand what they said as it is a different alefbet, because Hebrew script, which is a derivative of Proto Canaanite, has been only used since the 9th century BCE.
It should be noted that proto Canaanite was used by idol worshipping pagan cultures.
Here is how it developed over time:
- Phonecian: http://www.omniglot.com/writing/phoenician.htm
- Proto Hebrew/Aramaic: http://www.omniglot.com/writing/aramaic.htm
- Hebrew: http://www.omniglot.com/writing/hebrew.htm
- A recent archaeological find in King David’s time: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081103091035.htm
If you take a look at Dead Sea Scrolls Hebrew, it looks different than today’s Masoretic text (1000 years difference). Hebrew didn’t really develop until 900 BCE. The Torah was written in 1500-1400 BCE. Moses was raised in the court of Pharaoh, and also spoke Akkadian. Moses could read and write proto Canaanite as well, so I am sure he knew what the tablets said.
Also, the difference in writing style and refinement between the oldest Masoretic text known as the Aleppo codex, and the DSS style:
And the Dead Sea Scrolls:
and the Leningrad codex:
Those changes occurred in only 1000 years after Hebrew was established.
Let’s take a quick look at Biblical Hebrew so that we can examine the “Holy” status of it during Biblical times:
Isaiah 6 (written approx700 BCE)
5 Then I said, Woe is me! For I am cut off; for I am a man of unclean lips (H8193), and I live amongst a people of unclean lips (H8193); for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of Hosts.
6 Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, snatched with tongs from the altar.
7 And he touched it on my mouth, and said, See, this has touched your lips; and your iniquity is taken away, and your sin is covered.
שׂפת / שׂפה
śâphâh / śepheth
1) lip, language, speech, shore, bank, brink, brim, side, edge, border, binding
1a) lip (as body part)
1c) edge, shore, bank (of cup, sea, river, etc)
Part of Speech: noun feminine
A Related Word by BDB/Strong’s Number: probably from H5595 or H8192 through the idea of termination (compare H5490)
Same Word by TWOT Number: 2278a
Here is another example of how the same word lip or language is used:
Zephaniah 3 (approx 620 BCE)
9 For then will I restore to the people a pure (H1305) language (H8193), that they may all call upon the name of the LORD, to serve him with one accord.
1) to purify, select, polish, choose, purge, cleanse or make bright, test or prove
1a1) to purge, purge out, purify
1a2) to choose, select
1a3) to cleanse, make shining, polish
1a4) to test, prove
1b) (Niphal) to purify oneself
1c) (Piel) to purify
1d1) to purify
1d2) to polish arrows
1e1) to purify oneself
1e2) to show oneself pure, just, kind
Part of Speech: verb
A Related Word by BDB/Strong’s Number: a primitive root
Same Word by TWOT Number: 288
Since we know that Isaiah spoke and wrote in Hebrew, and he himself said that he is a man of unclean lips (speech), and since God stated in Zephaniah, which is a book that was written after Isaiah that he will restore a pure language, then it is obvious by the text that Biblical Hebrew is not a pure language currently, nor was it at the time of Isaiah.
Secondly, we need to examine the fact that there are parts of various books in the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) that are written partially in Aramaic (Daniel, Ezra, Jeremiah, Genesis).
Aramaic is a language that came out of Canaan, where the people worshipped idols, and was also spoken in pagan Babylon during the captivity.
If Hebrew is a Holy language, then why would God mix the language used by a pagan cultures with Hebrew in the Scriptures? In the book of Daniel, in the portion where the Aramaic begins, it opens like this:
4 And the Chaldeans spoke to the king in Aramaic: O king, live forever! Tell your servants the dream, and we will reveal the meaning.
In the passages directly following the opening, we find Aramaic words such as Melecha (H4430), Shamaya (H8065), Elahh (H426), and others throughout the text. The Aramaic continues until to the end of chapter seven, spanning almost five chapters. It should be noted that Abraham came from Ur of the Chaldees, and then in obedience he left his pagan culture, and crossed over into the land that God had promised him which became Israel.
7 You are the LORD the God who chose Abram, and brought him forth out of Ur of the Chaldees, and appointed his name, Abraham.
Many Hebrew Roots teachers have stated that the only way one can really effectively understand the Old Testament Scriptures, is by learning to read and understand them in the Hebrew language. Currently, English is spoken (sometimes as a second language) by a much larger percentage of the six billion people in the world today, than the five million people world wide who currently speak Hebrew. This works out statistically to be a negligable percentage of the worlds population that speaks and understands Hebrew.
Would God have been so short sighted as to write His word into Hebrew, which for the most part was a dead language until resurrected in the last half of the nineteenth century as modern Hebrew, if it could not be accurately translated and comprehended in other languages such as English? This should be something for us all to consider seriously.
Going forward into the NT, it should be noted that Jesus spoke Aramaic on the cross, and in some other passages found in the New Testament. He most likely conversed in Greek or even possibly Latin with Pilate at His trial. Jesus also spoke in a Hebraic language (some scholars say Aramaic) to Paul on the road to Damascus in the book of Acts.
Paul, who wrote thirteen or fourteen books of the New Testament spoke Aramaic, Hebrew, Greek, Latin (Roman citizen), and because he lived in Tarsus at an early age, he possibly would have spoken a local dialect which would probably be related to modern Turkish, and possibly even a few more dialects of other languages that he learned in his travels.
Next, we should examine the use of languages in first century Judea. Listed below (parenthesis) are a few of the possible languages spoken in those regions at that time. Please keep in mind that the list is by no means comprehensive:
Acts 2 (written approx 63 CE)
1 And in the fulfilling of the day of Pentecost, they were all with one mind in the same place.
2 And suddenly a sound came out of the heaven, as being borne along by a violent wind! And it filled all the house where they were sitting.
3 And tongues as of fire appeared to them, being distributed, and it sat on each one of them.
4 And they were all filled of the Holy Spirit, and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave ability to them to speak.
5 And Jews were living in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation of those under the heaven.
6 But this sound occurring, the multitude came together and were confounded, because they each heard them speaking in his own dialect.
7 And all were amazed and marveled, saying to one another, Behold, are not all these, those speaking, Galileans?
8 And how do we hear each in our own dialect in which we were born,
9 Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites (Persian), and those living in Mesopotamia (Turkish dialect, Syrian, Persian, Akkadian), both Judea (Hebrew,Aramaic,Greek) and Cappadocia, Pontusand Asia (Turkish dialect, Greek)
10 both Phrygia and Pamphylia (Turkish dialect,Greek), Egypt (Arabic dialect, Greek), and the regions of Libya over against Cyrene (Latin,Greek,Aramaic), and the temporarily residing Romans (Latin,Greek), both Jews and proselytes,
11 Cretans (Greek, Aramaic) and Arabians (Arabic dialect, Greek); in our own languages we hear them speaking the great deeds of God?
Would God through His Holy Spirit allow the apostles to speak, in what some Hebrew roots teachers have claimed to be pagan languages, if they truly were according to Gods standards? If this was the case, wouldn’t it have been easier for the apostles to speak only in Hebrew, and then for God to miraculously have all of the different people who spoke the many other languages, be able to understand what the apostles said in the “Holy language” of Hebrew? Instead the apostles spoke and praised God in what some have taught are unclean pagan languages that they claim no self respecting Jew would ever speak.
Some Hebrew Roots teachers have circulated the “myth” that the Jews of that day believed it was better to eat swine flesh than to speak Greek.
I guess the apostles never got the memo on that, nor did the Holy Spirit, or maybe there was a shortage of swine flesh at that time, because as they were being led by the Holy Spirit, they spoke Greek as one of the many languages. This is detailed in the passage recorded in Acts. Keeping in mind, that since Greek was established as the common language, and the language of trade since the rule of Alexander almost four centuries before the time of Christ in 332 BCE, that many others throughout the Roman empire spoke and understood Greek as well.
Various Hebrew Roots teachers have emphatically stated that the New Testament was definitely written in Hebrew or Aramaic, because no self respecting Jew would have written it in Greek. How does that stand up in light of what we have reviewed thus far? Also how could this statement have any validity, seeing as how the first five books of the Hebrew OT was translated into Greek two centuries before Christ by Jewish scribes?
In conclusion, it would appear that those striving to keep Hebrew as the pure, Holy Heavenly language that true followers of the Messiah need to read and speak, need to re-examine their teachings. The Hebrew posturing that is being touted as “truth” falls completely short of historical documentation and factual evidence. One more Hebrew Roots “myth” ………. busted (smile).
Other articles of interest:
- Millennial Prophecy – Measuring Unrevealed Prophecies in Light of Revealed Truths
- Gateways into the Hebrew Roots Movement – An Examination of ‘Identity Crisis’ and Related Teachings of Jim Staley
- The Law of Christ – Defined and Defended
- Tzit Tzit For the Believer In Christ?
If you or someone you know is in the HRM or a related Law-keeping sect and are questioning what you believe, a clear presentation of the Gospel can be found HERE. For more resources regarding the Hebrew Roots/Messianic movements see the Post Index and the Articles Page. General study helps, discernment, and apologetics sites can be found HERE. Good, foundational studies with a special emphasis on Old Covenant/New Covenant Truths can be found HERE. Be sure to check out the other testimonies on the Testimonies Page, as well. Make use of the tabs with drop-down menus found at the top of this site – there’s tons of info there, and it’s very navigable. May God guide and bless you as you seek His Truth.
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